FluidFM: A new tool for axonal guidance and outgrowth studies

Control and track axonal growth and axonal pathfinding over time

The development of the nervous system is one of the most fascinating and at the same time least understood biological processes. FluidFM technology provides a new tool in studying axonal guidance and axonal outgrowth for in-vitro research at the single-neuron level. By combining unique nanoprinting, injection, extraction, and single cell placing technologies, FluidFM technology allows to:

Precisely and locally dispense or inject neuromodulators or other soluble substances with FluidFM.

Create customized patterns to study axonal guidance and outgrowth forming neuronal circuits

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Precisely and locally dispense or inject neuromodulators or other soluble substances to study intra-cellular axonal trafficking

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Manipulate single neurons to establish in vitro disease models for neurological disorders

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Study axonal guidance and outgrowth with FluidFM

FluidFM enables creating customized patterns of, for example, attractive and repellent signals and hence the formation of neuronal circuits in vitro in a controlled manner. Also, using its injection feature, individual neurons can be transfected which opens new possibilities in studying individual genes and proteins in a single or multicellular context.

FluidFM Neuroscience - Controlled neurite growth with FluidFM

Image shows PLL line in green, printed with FluidFM between two groups of neurons. In red, neurite growth driven by PLL can be seen. Image courtesy of Harald Dermutz, ETH Zurich, Switzerland.

FluidFM Neuroscience - FluidFM cell extraction series. Courtesy Orane Guillaume-Gentil, ETH Zurich.

The series of image above shows HeLa-GFP cells before, during, and after extraction of cytosolic content by a FluidFM Nanosyringe. Image courtesy of Orane Guillaume-Gentil, ETH Zurich, Switzerland.

Study intra-cellular axonal trafficking with FluidFM

With FluidFM soluble molecules can be administered on or into the cell at any location of the cell, even directly into the nucleus. Hence local dispensing of neuromodulators at the growth cone or anywhere at the axon is possible. Likewise, FluidFM also allows to extract material from the cell while keeping the cell viable e.g. for further observation or a consecutive extraction. This is particularly interesting for time-consecutive proteome or transcriptome analysis or single cell sequencing.

Studying neurological disorders with FluidFM

FluidFM provides a new comprehensive tool to create in vitro disease models for diseases and research in the neuroscience field. By its single cell manipulation technology, it is possible to transfect or even genetically engineer single neurons or other hard-to-transfect cells. Furthermore, by its nanoprinting and single cell pick-and-place features it allows placing specific individual cells, even cells from different wells, next to each other to study cell-cell interactions and communication or creating neuronal circuits between specific cells. And finally, one can also study the characteristics of single cells upon mechanical or chemical stimulation by dispensing or even cytosolic or nuclear injection of neuromodulators or any other soluble compounds.

FluidFM Neuroscience - Neuron expressing GFP 24h after injection of a plasmid. Courtesy Sen Yan, Jinan University.

Neuron expressing GFP 24h after injection of a plasmid encoding GFP using FluidFM. Image courtesy of Sen Yan, Jinan University, Guangzhou, China.

Selected FluidFM publications

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